24 May 2007
BP, Rio Tinto partner in coal, hydrogen plant
Mining company Rio Tinto Group will partner with BP in an effort to develop power generation plants that will pump their carbon dioxide emissions underground to help reduce global warming.
The companies said Rio will pay BP $32 million for a 50% stake in a new company called Hydrogen Energy. BP will fold its carbon capture and storage operations into the new entity.
One of the first moves for the joint venture is the beginning of a feasibility study to develop a $1.5 billion (A$2 billion) coal-fired power generation project at Kwinana in Western Australia that would integrate carbon capture and storage to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases.
The planned project would be an industrial-scale coal-fired power and carbon capture and storage project. It would generate enough electricity to meet 15% of the demand of southwest Western Australia, while each year capturing and permanently storing about 4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, which would release into the atmosphere.
The project would gasify locally produced coal from the Collie region to produce hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The hydrogen would fuel the power station, and they would capture and store around 90% of the carbon dioxide in a deep underground geological formation.
‘“This has enormous potential to affect the way that coal will be used for power generation across the world,” said Lewis Gillies, Hydrogen Energy’s chief executive. “This project could play an important role in influencing our future power mix, strengthening Australia’s energy security while also minimizing our impact on the environment. Hydrogen Energy is now working to deploy this technology as widely and rapidly as it practically can.”
For related information, go to www.isa.org/environment.
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